A Racing the Reaper Man Year: August 2021

I drifted into Sunday 1st August at sea. We were travelling from Lerwick, Shetland and the MV Hjaltland ferry arrived at Aberdeen and it was an early disembarking. Here, I had my first ever car accident – the crew at Lerwick had pondered and sent me down a very narrow ramp to the bottom deck. It was tight. On the way back up, the 1cm gap either side of my front wheels narrowed even more at a fishplate connector… up she went and hit the bulkhead. After much ado, we got her topside, reviewed the damage (not serious, but cosmetically ugly on a new car) then we were away through Aberdeen. Not bad, I had my first ever car bump at sea! (Within two hours, the fine people at Mazda had sorted a timetable for repairs and a courtesy car – so the stress was minimal.) We ran a mile at the Glenlivet Estate, then travelled on to my brother’s house at Dunphail. A couple days later we were home.

I kept the training going through August but lost my way a bit. I did not have a dip in training, it was just that I only had a rough idea of my next target. I managed 125 miles for the month, but only two runs above 10 miles. Yet, I put in several good speed sessions, felt strong, then challenged Martin, my trainer, to a 10 minute plank-off (autocorrect nearly exploded with that one)  before my birthday in September. By the end of August I could hold an 8 minute plank. Martin was busy putting together the final papers for his MSc and I had had a holiday, so my core sessions had no clear goal. I had lost my rhythm. With the quest for speed and October’s 50k looming, I had fallen between two stools and my training was neither speed nor endurance specific. However, I was still adhering to my new lifestyle, both dietarily and physically, by running every day. In Shetland I had drunk a bit of alcohol, but once home I stopped easily enough. The net result was a raised resting heart rate of 53-56 bpm, which slowly dropped to my normal 47-49 over the final weeks of August. However, I was still sticking to the same formula and my weight dropped to a new low of 11st 7lbs. 

Training for a 10 minute plank

Running wise I was very strong and seemed to have a new, built in endurance. My body was trim and new clothes were a couple sizes smaller. I was sure this Racing the Reaper Man Year would become my future normality and lifestyle. August was the month where I would let go of my weekly weighing and statistical gathering for a while. I needed a rest of sorts and by month’s end I had decided to focus on October’s 50k. August had been a month of adjustment and September would be a month of active rest. My right hamstring was a bit tight and my right shoulder had picked up a twinge. Work had become intense and I was losing more weekends with family commitments now the coronavirus restrictions were starting to lift. 

August was a month of adjustment

I had become a little too obsessed with a hard regime and irrationally worried that any easing back would see me balloon in weight. So, this was a new lesson: a successful program needs periods of low intensity. During these periods the good work already applied will stay with you as long as the balance of calories remain level, and old, bad habits don’t crawl back. Content with my new plans I looked forwards to September in which I was off to Greece and would also reach my 65th birthday. On a whim I also decided to get to 1000 miles for the year before my birthday to add to my 10 minute plank attempt, my goal of reaching 11st 5lbs and I was now committed to running every day of 2021 too. There is always something to aim for.

How did I fare in August?

My weight remained fairly steady, but still drifting down. I’ve marked some key points:

  • Still the most hydrated I’ve been, so still as heavy as I will be for a weigh in.
  • % body fat lowest ever at 19.4
  • % visceral fat lowest ever at 11.0
  • Bone mass down a shade.
  • Muscle mass level.
  • BMI: Down from an initial 27.6 to 23.8
  • Avg kcal/day balance = 1584
  • Tummy: Down from an initial 38” in November, to a new low of 30”

Weight progression:

  • Dec 31st: 13st 5lbs
  • End Jan: 13st 0lbs
  • End Feb: 12st 8.2lbs
  • End Mar: 12st 4.8lbs
  • End Apr: 12st 4lbs
  • End May: 11st 12.4lbs
  • End June: 11st 11lbs
  • End July: 11st 9lbs
  • End Aug: 11st 7lbs
Jumping for joy in August

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